Tag Archive: water

  1. CSG treated water – thoroughly tested and safe to use

    Comments Off on CSG treated water – thoroughly tested and safe to use

    The coal seam gas (CSG) industry produces water from coal seams to reduce pressure within the seams and release natural gas. The produced CSG water is prioritised for beneficial use for agriculture, domestic purposes and local industries.

    How do we know that this CSG water is safe to use for domestic or agricultural purposes?

    Since the 19th century, farmers have been using water in large volumes from bores drilled into coal seams without any processing.

    Each year, more than 7 billion litres (GL) of water sourced from coal seams are used for agriculture. However, not all of this water is suitable for direct use. Processing is required in such circumstances.

    Near Chinchilla, in the heart of Queensland’s CSG fields, the state-owned water wholesaler, SunWater buys up to 85 million litres of processed water a day from a CSG company and resells it to local users, including farmers.

    The processed water is extensively tested. Water quality samples are taken weekly and sent to a NATA accredited laboratory for independent analysis and reporting. SunWater reports publicly every quarter on what is measured and what the tests found.

    Tests are made for some 55 different substances, including:

    • endocrine disrupting compounds
    • disinfection by-products
    • industrial organics
    • inorganics
    • metals
    • nitrosamines
    • nutrients
    • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
    • radionuclides
    • total petroleum hydrocarbons
    • volatile organic compounds.

    This ensures the quality of the water provided to SunWater is consistently of a standard that protects public health and safety.

  2. Water science and the gas industry

    Comments Off on Water science and the gas industry

    Australia’s oil and gas industry is contributing more than $6 million every year to support water research and modelling of precious water resources.

    Some of these water models are the most extensive ever developed in Australia. The Queensland Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment Surat-Bowen Basin model covers an area the size of Germany with 22,000 water wells.

    This large and complex groundwater flow model has 19 layers and more than three million individual cells.

    It models changes over decades to make sure all water movement dynamics are understood. It also identifies water wells that will be affected by gas industry activity before the impacts are seen. This enables advanced planning and proper preparation for make-good arrangements.

    Water has been co-produced with oil or gas production ever since the start of the industry in Australia in the early 1900s. In the case of coal seam gas (CSG) the water is pumped from wells deep in the coals to reduce pressure and release the natural gas.

    Government and industry agree that this water should be put to beneficial use. But oil and gas wells produce from depths of 300 to 4,000 meters, so the water tends to be brackish with higher salt content than the shallower aquifers normally used for agriculture or domestic use. The water is generally not usable without desalination treatment or blending with fresher (less saline) water.

    About 97% of the water produced from CSG wells is processed using technologies such as reverse osmosis, and is made available for beneficial use outside of the oil and gas industry. More than half is used by agriculture, which reduces the demand for water from the Great Artesian Basin’s shallower, less saline aquifers. This, in itself, will help recharge these shallow aquifers over time.

    Condamine feedlot owner Simon Drury is one farmer using treated water from gas production. He uses seven pivot irrigators to grow fodder for his cattle and brings in about 20,000 tonnes of grain per year.

    According to the Queensland Gasfields Commission, universities, State Government agencies and CSG proponents are conducting 188 water‐related science and research projects on Queensland’s coal seam gas regions.

    Much of this work is in addition to the enormous environmental and technical assessments that companies undertake as part of the project approval phase.

    A recent survey by the Australian Water Association showed many water industry professionals want to know more about the impact of gas production on water sources. The oil and gas industry accepts it has a responsibility to help provide answers.

    The same survey showed a strong majority of water professionals supported the current level of regulation relevant to managing unconventional gas production.

  3. Fracking poses minimal risk to water – US EPA

    Comments Off on Fracking poses minimal risk to water – US EPA

    The US Environmental Protection Agency has found that hydraulic fracturing poses minimal risk to groundwater resources.

    Following a comprehensive review of more than 950 sources of information, including technical reports, published papers and peer-reviewed science, the EPA concluded: “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread systemic impacts on drinking water resources of the US.”

    APPEA Chief Technical Officer Rick Wilkinson says the EPA report adds to the vast body of credible science which showed that the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas were very low and could be safely managed.

    “Around the world there is a broad scientific consensus that natural gas can be responsibly developed and, specifically, that hydraulic fracturing can be safely used,” Mr Wilkinson said.

    “For example, the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) stated in its comprehensive and peer-reviewed report on shale gas, that the risk of a well casing failure in Australia is low because the industry is committed to ensuring wells are constructed and maintained to the highest standard.

    “Recent inquiries conducted by the Northern Territory Government and New South Wales Chief Scientist have also found that risks associated with hydraulic fracturing are no greater than those posed by other industries and can be safely managed through regulation and industry best practice.

    “The truth is hydraulic fracturing is a low-risk, reliable and well-understood technology that has been used successfully in Australia for decades.”

    Mr Wilkinson said that despite the fact that more than one million wells had been ‘fracced’ in the US, the EPA study found only a few examples of problems caused by surface spills, leaking storage tanks and poorly constructed wells.

    He said industry and regulators would closely examine the EPA report to ensure that technologies and operating practices were constantly improving.